Evening in Bloom
Here at Hedonia, we love a good design challenge! So, we were very excited earlier this spring to be chosen to participate in Hort Couture, the fashion show-slash-opening event for the Garden Show at Navy Pier. The challenge was not only to create an amazing garment for the runway, but one of 50%+ floral and plant material.
It all started with a silhouette - a chic, fit & flare dress topped with a diaphanous skirt and a dramatic tail. Flowers would start with a asymmetrical flower crown, that would wrap as a continuous line across the hip and around the back. The train was originally going to be of spray painted pampas grass (an idea I am still obsessed with), but the only stuff I could get my hands on in March was a little too witchy for this delicate dress.
Here's the dress the week of the show, constructed amidst the mess of my living room. Underneath are a bridesmaid's dress, taken apart and sown to a backless strapless bra. Like, 20 yards of eggnog tulle were gathered for the skirt, which was stiffened with starch and steamed like crazy to get it to fall nicely. The bodice is covered with a million little bleached, dried wheat husks for that feathery texture. The pink felt is reinforced with chicken wire and will serve as the base for the flowers.
The bleached wheat is also irresistible to cats, apparently. Nothing is safe in this household.
My color scheme was based around nudes and blushes, with accents of soft purple and coral. You can see I'm really being stubborn about my flower choice - hydrangeas are like the wiltiest flower our there, and my design involves tons of them, out of water for hours, literally hot glued on this dress.
Here I am the day of the fashion show, glue gunning like a fiend. It felt like I was on Project Runway in a room filled with a dozen other designers from fashion & floral design, all frantically doing their thing before the flowers die. At this point, we already survived our first crisis - our model called out! Luckily the gorgeous Ambur was on hand to step up and wear our garment so beautifully.
Did I mention my mom flew out from Boston to help? She was so amazing the whole day AND she whipped out her costume design/sewing background to save the day and fit the dress perfectly to the model.
It's go time! Ambur is in the dress and looking like an absolute goddess. She's also realizing she can't really move in this dress because of the giant oasis on her shoulder. While most of the floral was hot-glued directly to the dress, I used oasis iglus on her shoulder and head to get a more 3-dimensional effect. I wanted the floral to invisibly flow from the crown to the bodice like it was a single piece.
The flower crown is going on! The mechanics of this nearly killed me the day before. The weight of so many flowers would crush whatever delicate structure I tried to build it on. The result was a kind of bootleg combo of chicken wire, thick electrical wire, bleached ruscus and one million bobby pins.
But it was worth the effort!
Here you can see the bottom of the dress. We glued hydrangea florets to the tulle for a ethereal layered look.
Along with the hydrangea, we used roses, hellebores, carnation petals, sweet pea, jasmine vine, and little button mums to create the dimensional texture of the piece. Since roses are too thick from front to back to glue flat, I made dozens of faux-roses out of rose petals with a yellow button mum in the center.
Ambur being an absolute vision.
And it's done! A big thanks to my Mom, the best ever, along with the gorgeous Ambur and the talented Brissa at Breeze Art Creatives for the photos!